What is depression?
Depression is a common mental health problem. At least one in ten people will experience symptoms of depression at some time. In its mildest form depression does not stop us from leading a normal life, but the most severe depression can be life threatening, with thoughts of death and suicide.
What causes depression?
No single cause for depression has been found. Usually there is more than one reason and this differs from person to person. Life is sometimes difficult and we know things such as low income, bereavement, loneliness, relationship problems and loss of work can make people more likely to become depressed, although this is not always the case. Some people may be more vulnerable to depression, due to family history of depression, early experiences, personality factors or body chemistry. Sometimes there is no obvious reason at all.
Signs and symptoms of depression and low mood
When you’re depressed you may feel hopeless and alone in the world; you may blame yourself for all the faults you think you have and feel pretty worthless. In short, you feel negative about yourself, about the world and about the future. So you tend to lose interest in what’s going on around you, you don’t get any satisfaction out of the things you used to enjoy and you withdraw even further into yourself. Eventually it can become hard to make decisions or to carry out little tasks that you once did with no problem at all. People who are depressed often say they don’t recognise themselves they feel so different. The good news is that there are many things that can help, and people do recover from depression.
- Losing confidence in yourself
- Expecting the worst and having negative or gloomy thoughts
- Thinking that everything seems hopeless
- Thinking you hate yourself
- Poor memory or concentration
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feeling sad, guilty, upset, numb or despairing
- Losing interest and/or enjoyment in things
- Crying a lot or unable to cry when a truly sad event occurs
- Feeling alone even if you are in company
- Feeling angry and irritable about the slightest thing
- Lack of energy
- Sleep problems, especially waking early
- Feeling worse at a particular time of day – usually mornings
- Changes in weight, appetite and eating
- Not making decisions
- Can’t be bothered to do everyday tasks
- Putting things off
- Not doing things you used to enjoy
- Avoiding seeing people